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Liberal Arts Council Minutes

10 September 2008, 2:00 pm, ELA 245
(Approved at the 1 October 2008 meeting of Liberal Arts Council)

Presiding: Dean Ann Marie Ellis
Recording: Associate Dean Daniel Lochman
Council Members: Vicki Brittain, Susan Day, Dennis Dunn, Bob Fischer, Nancy Grayson, Michael Hennessy, Vince Luizzi, Jon McGee, Shirley Ogletree, Philip Suckling

1. Minutes of LAC meeting on 9-3-08 reviewed and approved (SACS issues, Associate Deans search, graduate enrollment, end-of-semester grade reporting, CAD update, College and departmental goals for AY 2008-2009)

2. Congratulations. (a) To the many Liberal Arts faculty featured in the Spring/Summer issue of Hillviews, including Dagoberto Gilb (ENG), Christina Conlee (ANTH), Everette Swinney (HIST, Distinguished Professor Emeritus), Vicki Bynum (HIST), and James McWilliams (HIST). Many other Liberal Arts faculty were featured as the authors of books published in the past year and for other significant accomplishments. (b) To Mark Busby (ENG), co-editor of John Graves, Writer, a book named as a finalist for the 2007 Writers' League of Texas Violet Crown Award for nonfiction.

3. The Dean's Thanks: To Audrey McKinney (PHIL), who has completed her term as a Liberal Arts Faculty Senator.

4. Search for Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities. Dr. Grayson reminded Council of a recent email to the six departments designated as Humanities disciplines by NEH. They are to forward to her names of faculty appointed to the committee that selects external reviewers. The committee's duties should be completed by November 15.

5. SACS: Outcomes and methods. Dean Ellis reminded chairs of her request to receive draft copies of revised student learning outcomes for 2008-2009 by September 17. All chairs reported that revisions are complete or are in progress. Dr. Lochman distributed a handout describing advantages and disadvantages of various assessment techniques.

6. Graduate enrollment. Dean Ellis reported that the Provost continues to emphasize the importance of graduate enrollments, and she urged chairs to continue their efforts to maintain enrollments this fall. She also noted that fees for distance education have provided significant support to those departments that have developed online courses; she encouraged departments to continue their efforts to develop appropriate online offerings, especially at the graduate level.

Following recent conversations, Dean Ellis has decided to consider an interdisciplinary master's degree in Liberal Arts that could include a focus on leadership and ethics with an online curriculum and an on-campus capstone course. Council discussed potential demand and curricular issues. The Dean noted that some corporations support employees who seek graduate education and offset tuition costs through agreements with educational institutions. One chair noted that a degree of this type could provide an opportunity for outreach to students otherwise unable to obtain graduate education; another noted the need to provide adequate compensation for faculty who develop online courses. The Dean urged Council to consider existing and new courses that programs could contribute to such a degree and stated that the issue will return to the agenda.

Dean Ellis added that, as the University plans the upcoming capital campaign, she will use upcoming venues to highlight needs such as graduate fellowships to recruit and retain students in Liberal Arts' most selective and competitive programs; an endowment to allow the College to support important research activities (e.g., special programs, conferences, festivals, international travel by faculty); professorships across the College for faculty who have built centers with national standing; and an endowment for the Dialogue Series due to its potential to reach students across campus. She asked chairs and directors to consider other needs and report them to her by Friday, September 19, and emphasized that named academic programs or centers and spaces in the new classroom building present opportunities for development activity.

7. Goals for AY 2008-2009.

(a) Reports of accomplishments and goals of chairs. Chairs of Modern Languages, Geography, English, and Anthropology reported on major accomplishments of AY 2007-2008 and their goals in AY 2008-2009.

(b) Mapping departmental faculty: reports of needs due to the Dean by October 15. Dean Ellis distributed data listing current and newly hired faculty in each Liberal Arts department. Several chairs noted omissions, and the Dean encouraged them to forward corrections to Pat Heath (ph09) so that College records are accurate. She asked chairs to assist her to develop the College's request for faculty needs by examining the data, faculty workloads, and any support departments can contribute to offset the costs of new faculty.

(c) Fuel expenses for adjuncts. Chairs mapping faculty needs may wish to consider requesting senior lecturer positions in light of increased travel expenses for adjuncts.

Around the Table

Dr. Brittain inquired about the State's list of public universities to consider for development as "first-tier." Dean Ellis replied that amounts of externally funded research and the number of doctoral programs and students were important in the selection process; there is reason to think that Texas State will improve in these categories over time.

Dr. Lochman reminded departments that have not reported to him the names of representatives for the 2008-2009 Faculty Advisory Council to do so as soon as possible.

Dr. Day inquired about organization of this year's student advisory councils. Dr. Grayson replied that organization for both the Liberal Arts Student Advisory Council (LASAC) and the Liberal Arts Graduate Student Advisory Council (LAGSAC) is in process.


(a) Dr. Day encouraged faculty to attend a Common Experience event featuring Timothy Jacob Wise, to be held October 28.

(b) American Studies Association of Texas meeting, November 13-15. Mark Busby has announced that all graduate students who present papers will receive $50 for travel. Faculty are invited to chair sessions that feature scholarly papers and readings of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

(c) Other announcements:

· Tuesday, September 16, 3:30-5, Alkek 105/106: Refining Student Learning Outcomes: Working Strategies (Beth Wuest)
· Wednesday, September 17, 1-4 pm, LBJSC, Dine 1: Refining Student Learning Outcomes: Open Forum and Consultation (Beth Wuest)
· In September: University Strategic Plan Progress Report completed
· In September: Planning session for all departments undergoing Academic Program Review in 2009
· Wednesday, September 17: Deadline for program directors to submit offline versions of revised student learning outcomes and methods to the Dean
· Tuesday, September 30: Deadline for chairs and directors to revise (if necessary) and approve 2008-2009 Program Student Learning Outcomes and Methods of Assessment
· Tuesday, September 30, 10-11:30 am, JCK 1100: On Campus SACS Consultants’ Presentations and Open Forum for Chairs and Directors (Julia Pet-Armacost and Robert L. Armacost)
· Wednesday, October 8, 5 pm: Deadline to submit proposals for Research Enhancement Grants; information and the application form are available at
· Wednesday, October 15: Deadline for chairs to submit reports of faculty needs to the Dean
· Wednesday, October 15: Deadline for receipt of applications for Faculty Development Leave by the office of the Faculty Senate
· Thursday, October 16, 1:30-3:30 pm, JCK 420: Introduction to GAMS
· Monday, October 20, 3-4:30 pm, JCK 460 or Tuesday, October 21, 9:30-11 am, Alkek 105/106: SACS Annual Update presented by VP for Institutional Effectiveness Cathy Fleuriet with QEP Co-Chairs Beth Wuest and Nico Schuler
· Thursday, October 30: Deadline for deans to review and approve revised and Program Student Learning Outcomes and Outcomes Assessment Revisions for 2008-2009
· Friday, October 31, 9 am to noon, JCK 1100: Legal Update for University Administrators (Bill Fly)
· Friday, January 16, 2009: Deadline for departments to mount proposals to change, add, and delete courses on LA Curriculum TRACS site
· Friday, May 29: Department chairs review third year Student Learning Outcomes Assessment results
· Tuesday, June 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes Assessment reviewed by deans
· In September: University Strategic Plan Progress Report Completed
· Thursday, September 10: Compliance certification due to SACS
· Wednesday, September 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes revisions reviewed by chairs/directors
· October-November: Off-site SACS review
· Friday, October 30: Program Student Learning Outcomes revisons reviewed by deans
· Monday, February 8, 2010: Quality Enhancement Plan due to SACS
· January-February: Texas State responds to off-site review
· March 22-25: On-site SACS peer review conducted
· December 1-7: Review by Commission on Colleges